Five-finger relaxation technique

handInterested in a fast, yet effective way to relax? Like all methods of relaxation, this exercise is simple. But, of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will, by definition, be easy for you to relax immediately. Any skill, including learning to relax, takes time and input, but the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. So what are you waiting for?

1. Close your eyes

2. Place your thumb on your index finger

As you do this, go back in your mind to a time when your body felt pleasantly exhausted. A time when you had spent the day in healthy physical pursuits and experienced that happy feeling of being healthily tired and ready to fall into a long and well-earned sleep. Recall that feeling in your body now. Recall a time in your life when that was the way you often felt. Let your body experience that feeling through the power of your mind.

Enjoy the feeling.

3. Place your thumb on your middle finger

When you feel the touch of your thumb and middle finger, go back to a time in your life when you had successfully completed a large or long-term project. It could be achieving a diploma, saving up the deposit for your home, delivering a child. Try to choose something that took effort on your part and recapture that powerful feeling of personal accomplishment.

Enjoy the feeling.

4. Place your thumb on your ring finger

In your mind, transport yourself to the most beautiful place you have ever been to. Immerse yourself in the surroundings by using all your senses. In your minds’ eye, see the exquisite beauty of nature before you, touch and feel the textures that surrounded you at that time. Smell any fragrances that were present and hear the sounds that surrounded you at the time.

Enjoy the feeling.

5. Place your thumb on your little finger

As you feel skin on skin, think about the nicest compliment that anyone has said to you. Experience the pleasure you felt in hearing those comforting and reassuring words. Accept the compliment and let it fill your body with a feeling of joy. By accepting the compliment you are also respecting the person who gave it to you.

Enjoy the feeling

Practice this routine on a daily basis so that it forms a habit and each of the feelings accompanying each section of the exercise come to you quickly and easily. Whenever you feel yourself beginning to “stress out” simply start up your handy relaxation technique, which is conveniently close at hand! You can also use this technique to give yourself regular “time-outs” during the day. This will assist in lowering your overall stress levels if practiced regularly.

(Adapted from Davis et al., The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook.

Contact Beth McHugh for further assistance regarding this issue.

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